Drones Market Analysis

Drones, also known as unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), have transformed commercial operations and enhanced productivity across a wide range of sectors such as agriculture, defense, mining, construction, and security. Extensive R&D in unmanned aircraft system (UAS) has resulted in the commercialization of drones and the launch of variants such as hobbyist UAVs, large military-specific UAVs, stealth combat UAVs, and other automated industrial-grade drones. The integration of sensors and camera equipment with drones enables users to get a better view of remote landscapes and gain economic benefits when used in a business context. In recent years, the recreational use of drone variants such as quadcopters has increased considerably as hobbyists and photography enthusiasts have been using them for aerial photography. The industrial-grade drones are used in construction, mining, oil and gas, and other large industrial facilities for industrial inspection, which enables them to gain visibility, gather data, and optimize industrial processes. Drones are also used by militaries worldwide for rescue operations, transport of supplies to troops deployed in remote regions, and to carry missiles.

We have categorized the global drones market as a part of the overall aerospace and defense market, which covers companies that manufacture civil or military aerospace and defense equipment, parts, or products, including defense electronics and space equipment. According to our analysis, the global drones market has been valued at USD 4.75 billion and is expected to witness considerable growth until 2025, which is attributable to factors such as the increase in VC funding for drone manufacturers and growing support from regulatory bodies. Some of the key trends in this market include digitization and technological advances associated with the integration of camera equipment, mapping software, and other sensory applications.

Drones Market Segmentation


The global drones market can be segmented into the following:

Type

  • Fixed Wing Drone
  • Rotary Blade Drone
  • Hybrid Drone

Application

End-user

  • Infrastructure
  • Public Safety
  • Media and Entertainment
  • Agriculture
  • Energy
  • Insurance
  • Others

Geography

  • North America
  • Europe
  • APAC
  • South America
  • Middle East & Africa

drones market


According to our analysis, the military segment will emerge as the most-dominant application segment due to the increased adoption of military-grade drones for monitoring, surveillance, and transporting missiles and other supplies to troops in combat zones. We have identified North America as the fastest-growing geography as it has a considerably high demand for drones that have applications in the military sector.

Various underlying factors might drive or impede the growth of the global drones market during the forecast period. We have identified the following growth drivers for the market:

Increase in VC funding for drone manufacturers

Between 2012 and 2019, the Venture capital funding received by the vendors operating in the drone industry exceeded $2.5 billion. Factors such as the growing demand for consumer drones and the increasing sales of commercial drones in North America have encouraged investors to bet on drone manufacturing companies. Also, the increasing applications of commercial drones in areas such as agriculture, construction, insurance, energy, communications, and package delivery services have attracted the attention of venture capital investors. For instance, California-based Zipline has raised $229 million in three rounds of funding to emerge as the best-financed venture capital startup in the global drones market.

Benefits associated with drones

Electric-powered drones will play an instrumental role in reducing carbon emissions associated with delivering packages using medium- and heavy-duty trucks.  Companies like Amazon are already experimenting with the delivery of packages for its local warehouses that serve key delivery destinations within the drone's range. Thus, the positive environmental impact of small drone deliveries coupled with its cost-competitiveness will accelerate the demand for commercial drones and boost the growth of the global drones market.

Growing support from regulatory bodies

The emergence of favorable regulatory frameworks related to drone use in various countries is a major growth driver for the global drone market. Previously, countries such as the US, the UK, and Australia had stringent regulations in place for drone usage as they perceived them as threats to national security. However, the increasing applicability of commercial drones across a wide range of sectors has encouraged several nations to ease their regulatory guidelines. For instance, drone users in the UK have to obtain registration for their drones and pass safety awareness tests but do not require pilot certification.

Meanwhile, the vendors operating in the global drones market face numerous challenges in increasing their sales and improving profitability. The following are some of those challenges:

High prices of drones

One of the major growth deterrents for the global drones market is the high price of drones. Commercial drones have higher-than-average prices as compared to personal or recreational drones. For instance, DJI's Inspire 2 drone costs about $3,000 without the camera and $5,749 with all the accessories. Smaller companies cannot afford these commercial drones, which limits the accessibility to large companies.

Security risks associated with drones

Commercial drones generate a lot of aerial imagery and landscape information. The massive amount of incoming data generated using commercial drones also includes details associated with facial recognition, global positioning systems (GPS), and other personal information, which can compromise the safety of individuals and their respective nations. Drones are also susceptible to hacking, which can aid mid-air collisions with civilian and military aircraft and result in property damage and fatalities.

Technical and operational issues

Although the global drones market has witnessed significant developments in terms of new system designs, sensors, computer vision software, and algorithms, a majority of the commercial drones still have limited flight endurance and payload capacity. Another major technical issue that might hamper the growth of the market is the low resistance of drones to extreme weather conditions and its inability to stream real-time observations data to multiple computer systems or ground stations simultaneously, which limits the scope for real-time corroborations.

Our reports encompass a holistic analysis, market size and forecast, trends, growth drivers, and challenges, as well as vendor analysis. In our global drones market report, we have provided a detailed analysis of around 20 vendors, including several prominent players such as Yuneec International Co. Ltd., DJI, The Boeing Company, Lockheed Martin Corporation, and AeroVironment Inc.

The following are some of the key developments mentioned in our global drones market report:

  • Yuneec International Co. Ltd. has announced that its commercial hexacopter, the H520, will be fitted with an RTK (Real Time Kinematic) satellite navigation system from Fixposition, a manufacturer of high-precision satellite navigation systems.
  • DJI has developed a direct drone-to-phone, Wi-Fi-based solution to remotely detect the location, altitude, speed, and direction of airborne drones.
  • Lockheed Martin and The Drone Racing League (DRL) have launched AlphaPilot, an open challenge for participants to design an artificial intelligence (AI) framework that would power a drone without human intervention or navigational pre-programming.
  • The Boeing Company has announced that it has successfully completed the test flight of MQ-25 unmanned aerial refueler. The company collaborated with the U.S. Navy to complete the two-hour test flight of the MQ-25 test asset.
  • AeroVironment, Inc., has won a fixed-price contract to supply its Puma 3 AE small unmanned aircraft systems and support equipment to the U.S. Border Patrol, part of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

Backed with competitive intelligence and benchmarking, our global drones market research report is designed to provide entry support, customer and M&A assessment, as well as go-to-market strategy support.

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